UK Prime Minister announces £5 million for First World War memorial restorations

Posted on centenarynews.com on 19 December 2013
Share |

The UK Prime Minister has announced that £5 million will be made available over the Centenary to help conserve, repair and protect First World War memorials and burial sites.

The funding - which will be used to restore memorials in Britain and overseas where British and Commonwealth servicemen and women are buried - will form part of the Government's Centenary programme.

The announcement was made today as David Cameron and his Irish counterpart, Enda Kenny, visited First World War memorials in Belgium.

"Respect and education"

The £5 million will be spread over the four years of the Centenary and will also fund new educational materials including downloadable guides to help explain the significance of the sites, and to "honour the sacrifice" those buried or commemorated there.

Mr Cameron described the Centenary as "a time for the whole nation to reflect on the events that saw so many young people of that generation make the ultimate sacrifice".

"Nearly all of us in Britain have some family connection with that conflict, and it is the many millions of small, personal stories that resonate as loudly for us as the big, world-changing battles and campaigns". 

“As part of that, it is absolutely right that we help communities up and down the country to ensure that their local war memorials are a fitting tribute to the fallen and increase people’s understanding of what happened".

"We simply should not tolerate damaged war graves in our country. Our memorials and cemeteries must be places of respect and education. This funding will help make it happen, and I am proud to be able to announce it today”.

Funding

The Secretary for Culture, Maria Miller, explained that the £5 million to fund restoration work over the four year period is being financed using fines paid by banks who attempted to manipulate interest rates during the LIBOR scandal.

She described the Government's programme as focusing on "remembering the significance and sheer scale of what happened one hundred years ago" and that the "tens of thousands of war memorials in our towns and villages are an evocative symbol of that".

The Culture Secretary said that the funding, coupled with the "drive and determination of the communities that each memorial represents", should help to "create a legacy that will last for generations to come".

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will be liaising with stakeholders including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, War Memorials Trust, English Heritage and the Wolfson Foundation about how to ensure communities can access the new money.

Source: Department for Media, Culture and Sport press release

Date of press release publication: 19/12/2013

Images courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News